Trainer's Apprentience- UPDATE page 4

Hello everyone! I am very new to this forum and look forward to talking with everyone. :slight_smile:

Back in February, I was hired on as a trainer’s apprentice for an AQHA/APHA hunter under saddle barn. She particularly trains only huntseaters, which is my passion! I am currently in college full time and train with her once a week, sometimes more depending on the amount of horses in training. In the time frame since I have been working for her, I had to put my horse down :cry: and ended up leasing a horse at her barn. (This mare is on a lease to possible purchase). I thought it would make things easier to go ahead and board at her barn since I am already at that barn once a week and I live close by. Since I have begun leasing the mare at her facility I am being charged fees to go to shows…even if it was my idea to go to that show and she tagged along, or if I wanted to follow a circuit, she started to follow the same circuit and charges me day fees and training fees, when I have never asked for the assistance. I actually recieve no assistance at the show from her or her husband. I trailer my own horse to most shows, if I do ask her to haul I pay a hauling fee (which I found extremely fair) and I can only get on her trailer if all other clients decline to attend the show. I don’t want to appear to be rude, ungrateful, or anything similar, because I am very thankful for the opportunity she as given me. I am just curious if this should be happening. Should I be paying as if I am a client, even though I was hired on as an apprentice? I would love to continue to lease the mare, simply because we are an excellent team and always placing 1st or 2nd. (not to toot my own horn but we always place above this trainer and any of the horses she shows). I have never boarded at a trainer’s barn, only my own barn or a close friend’s. This whole situation is new for me, and I don’t want to bring up this issue to the trainer unless I know for sure that I need to bring it up. I would love to continue an excellent partnership between us and don’t want to cause any issues.

What would you expect as a trainer’s apprentice?

side note She fired her stall cleaning girl and then proceeded to text me saying that I was now to feed snack and clean stalls every day. I never wanted to clean stalls nor did we discuss me ever cleaning stalls. I told her nicely that I couldn’t clean because I couldn’t get away for 4 hours a day to clean all those stalls and feed due to my son and college. I did agree to feed for her so that she wasn’t completely out of a person.

Thank you for all the advice. :slight_smile:

[QUOTE=HUS2318;7607349]Hello everyone! I am very new to this forum and look forward to talking with everyone. :slight_smile:

Back in February, I was hired on as a trainer’s apprentice for an AQHA/APHA hunter under saddle barn. She particularly trains only huntseaters, which is my passion! I am currently in college full time and train with her once a week, sometimes more depending on the amount of horses in training. In the time frame since I have been working for her, I had to put my horse down :cry: and ended up leasing a horse at her barn. (This mare is on a lease to possible purchase). I thought it would make things easier to go ahead and board at her barn since I am already at that barn once a week and I live close by. Since I have begun leasing the mare at her facility I am being charged fees to go to shows…even if it was my idea to go to that show and she tagged along, or if I wanted to follow a circuit, she started to follow the same circuit and charges me day fees and training fees, when I have never asked for the assistance. I actually recieve no assistance at the show from her or her husband. I trailer my own horse to most shows, if I do ask her to haul I pay a hauling fee (which I found extremely fair) and I can only get on her trailer if all other clients decline to attend the show. I don’t want to appear to be rude, ungrateful, or anything similar, because I am very thankful for the opportunity she as given me. I am just curious if this should be happening. Should I be paying as if I am a client, even though I was hired on as an apprentice? I would love to continue to lease the mare, simply because we are an excellent team and always placing 1st or 2nd. (not to toot my own horn but we always place above this trainer and any of the horses she shows). I have never boarded at a trainer’s barn, only my own barn or a close friend’s. This whole situation is new for me, and I don’t want to bring up this issue to the trainer unless I know for sure that I need to bring it up. I would love to continue an excellent partnership between us and don’t want to cause any issues.

What would you expect as a trainer’s apprentice?

side note She fired her stall cleaning girl and then proceeded to text me saying that I was now to feed snack and clean stalls every day. I never wanted to clean stalls nor did we discuss me ever cleaning stalls. I told her nicely that I couldn’t clean because I couldn’t get away for 4 hours a day to clean all those stalls and feed due to my son and college. I did agree to feed for her so that she wasn’t completely out of a person.

Thank you for all the advice. :)[/QUOTE]

Run.

(PS Not unusual among equine professionals, unfortunately)

Run faster.

YIKES! That’s exactly what I feared. :frowning:

Or, if she really is a worthwhile trainer, you could make sure you get the services you are paying for. Before the next show you could say, “What time should we schedule my schooling?” to convey that you expect her to be ring side. If she declines to arrange, or tells you you don’t need her to prep, then you can follow up with a smile and, “Okay, so we’ll waive that fee. Thanks, I just want to make sure I’m budgeting appropriately!”

And if she agrees to provide the service but is a no-show at the time of, you can follow up with a kindly voiced “It’s a shame you weren’t able to make it to the ring at X:00 like we planned; I’ll hold on to the ring fee and hopefully we connect next time!”

But really… you’re being taken advantage of. You may also voice “I’ve noticed that our arrangement (or your expectations or whatever) seems to have changed. Let’s set up a time to review (or write up!) our contract and make sure it still accurately describes our expectations”.

[QUOTE=Jaideux;7607373]Or, if she really is a worthwhile trainer, you could make sure you get the services you are paying for. Before the next show you could say, “What time should we schedule my schooling?” to convey that you expect her to be ring side. If she declines to arrange, or tells you you don’t need her to prep, then you can follow up with a smile and, “Okay, so we’ll waive that fee. Thanks, I just want to make sure I’m budgeting appropriately!”

And if she agrees to provide the service but is a no-show at the time of, you can follow up with a kindly voiced “It’s a shame you weren’t able to make it to the ring at X:00 like we planned; I’ll hold on to the ring fee and hopefully we connect next time!”

But really… you’re being taken advantage of. You may also voice “I’ve noticed that our arrangement (or your expectations or whatever) seems to have changed. Let’s set up a time to review (or write up!) our contract and make sure it still accurately describes our expectations”.[/QUOTE]

I love these ideas! I’m supposed to be going to a show this weekend, I might just try the schooling idea’s. I will defiantly need to sit down and review our arrangement. I’ve never apprenticed before and wasn’t sure if this was what I am supposed to expect. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one thinking I was being taken advantage of.

I would definitely be very weary of this arrangement as it currently stands. From what you’ve described, it definitely sounds as if you are being taken advantage of. See if you can get something in writing from her and then if that agreement is not to your liking, look for somewhere else to work. I would hold off purchasing a horse from her until you get this straightened out though.

These sorts of arrangements only work when people get everything in writing and stick to the agreement.

When things are not in writing then you subject yourself to “scope creep”, where first they want you to do X, then X+Y, then X+Y+Z+PDQ. It usually ends up with people coming on COTH to post a thread asking for opinions on whether or not they are getting taken advantage of. In most cases, the answer is “yes”.

If you didn’t receive coaching from her at the show, then don’t pay the fee. I like what Jaideux suggested for how to approach the trainer regarding the changes and how to get things back on track.

I would love to continue to lease the mare, simply because we are an excellent team and always placing 1st or 2nd.

What does your paperwork say in this regard?

  • if you have none, be prepared for some changes!

[QUOTE=alto;7607765]What does your paperwork say in this regard?

  • if you have none, be prepared for some changes![/QUOTE]

I have a lease signed on the mare, but the owner of this horse is not the trainer. She is another boarder at the barn. (sorry if I mislead anyone on that). The lease just is a basic form stating I pay x amount monthly for full use of mare when owner will pay all necessary medical, farrier, and boarding fees. It’s a 3 month lease with the option to purchase at the end of the lease, which I am coming to on to the end.

Thank you everyone for all the help!
Another question…what should I expect as a training apprentice? What would you consider the “norm”?

It sounds like you weren’t very specific about your duties/compensation. You need to sit down with the trainer and hash everything out.

Having said that, a couple of things strike me as odd:

  1. Not sure how you can be an “apprentice” if you’re a full time student and only available to train once per week. How often are you at the barn? And what do you think an apprentice does? To me, apprentice says unpaid, learning the ropes.
  2. It’s not much of a “training program” if you expect to go to competitions on your own and just do your own thing. That’s not the way “programs” work.

[QUOTE=HUS2318;7607349]side note She fired her stall cleaning girl and then proceeded to text me saying that I was now to feed snack and clean stalls every day. I never wanted to clean stalls nor did we discuss me ever cleaning stalls. I told her nicely that I couldn’t clean because I couldn’t get away for 4 hours a day to clean all those stalls and feed due to my son and college. I did agree to feed for her so that she wasn’t completely out of a person.

Thank you for all the advice. :)[/QUOTE]

If you weren’t expecting to feed and muck stalls, what exactly are you expecting TO DO as an apprentice?

What do you see your apprenticeship as entailing from your end?

[QUOTE=Jsalem;7607919]It sounds like you weren’t very specific about your duties/compensation. You need to sit down with the trainer and hash everything out.

Having said that, a couple of things strike me as odd:

  1. Not sure how you can be an “apprentice” if you’re a full time student and only available to train once per week. How often are you at the barn? And what do you think an apprentice does? To me, apprentice says unpaid, learning the ropes.
  2. It’s not much of a “training program” if you expect to go to competitions on your own and just do your own thing. That’s not the way “programs” work.[/QUOTE]

Bolding mine - apprentice is a rather odd term to be heard within this context. What “apprentice” means to Jsalem is what I would think of as an “intern.” To me (having grown up around plumbers, HVAC/sheet metal workers, electricians, etc), apprentice does have the meaning of someone learning the ropes, but still being paid for the work they do - all this is in the process of working towards becoming a journeyman plumber, etc. The only place in the horse world off the top of my head the word apprentice would seem to make sense would be farriery.

It seems that this trainer is using the term to mean someone to take over some of the grunt work, maybe some riding (?), but not someone to act as a bona-fide assistant trainer (i.e., not be paid like an assistant trainer).

Short story, I agree with Jsalem - it sounds like the terms were not made crystal-clear at the beginning of your arrangement, and that is lending itself to a situation where one party may feel (or may actually be) taken advantage of. And 100% agree about the “training program” where you do your own thing… that’s not a program at all.

What are you getting in exchange for your one day per week and feeding? A lesson? Free rides? A little off your board? If not these things, what is your hourly rate? Say it’s $10/hr, how many weekly hours are you spending? Anything past that you should pay for, but you need to have a conversation with her about this. You should be tracking your hours on a sheet and giving it to her at the end of the week.

You also need to have a separate conversation about show expenses… “My budget is very tight so I can’t afford anything other than the trailering fees, so I won’t need any grooming/coaching/etc services this time.”

Unless you can get all of this hammered out, you may find that you are dissatisfied with your arrangement because it keeps changing.

The good news: You have found a horse you like on lease purchase that you have been able to try and have good success with before you decide whether or not to purchase (oh the sale horse stories we hear here…)

I wouldn’t consider one day a week to be an “apprentice” I would consider that to be just helping out one day a week. I would consider an apprentice to be more 5-6 days a week several hours a day.

One day a week is not going to go far to offset hundreds of dollars in board, lessons and fees. Most credit about 10 an hour for labor against fees/lessons etc.

Might be a terminology thing too, sounds like a more breed show type barn. H/J would call you a part time working student and you’d be mostly doing barn work here too.

You need trainer get you an agreement on writing.

If you are no longer a junior and riding any of the trainer’s horses, then you should pay for all services (board, horse care, lessons, training) you receive from the trainer to retain your amateur status. An “apprentice” in this sense means volunteer labor in exchange for work experience in a trainer’s program. Of course, you should never be charged for services not delivered.

If you are only able to work one day per week, your value to the trainer as an apprentice is limited because there’s not enough continuity. These situations work best when you can commit to a daily situation for at least several months. If you can only “apprentice” once a week, I can see why the trainer would rather have you clean stalls and feed rather than assist in training horses/clients.

It doesn’t sound like this is worth your time and effort. You’d be better off working a part-time job to pay for lessons/training.

I am seeing 3 issues here. First issue: Can trainer bill the OP for training and other services? It sounds like she is effectively paying board via her lease arrangement with HO. Her fee paid to HO covers HO’s board, etc. So, she isn’t being given any free board from trainer. Also, when the OP had her own horse, she indicated that said horse lived at home and was not in trainer’s program, so no free board still before the lease started.

Second issue: Can trainer bill for coaching/care/other day fees at shows? If she isn’t getting any lessons/training/show coaching on the lease horse, why should she be charged for that? So, no, trainer should not charge you for services trainer is not providing.

Third issue: What should OP expect to receive out of this apprenticeship arrangement? As for what the trainer should give you (money, or just knowledge/off the horse training on how to run the business), then that would depend on how much you are working. I think that if you are there only 1 day a week, you shouldn’t really expect any $ compensation. It’s more like a volunteer internship where you are doing whatever work you are doing / shadowing trainer for the knowledge of how to run that type of business. In any event, the terms of issue #3 should be hammered out one on one with the trainer. Each side should set out their expectations of time spent and the benefit each hopes to receive.

[QUOTE=Jsalem;7607919]It sounds like you weren’t very specific about your duties/compensation. You need to sit down with the trainer and hash everything out.

Having said that, a couple of things strike me as odd:

  1. Not sure how you can be an “apprentice” if you’re a full time student and only available to train once per week. How often are you at the barn? And what do you think an apprentice does? To me, apprentice says unpaid, learning the ropes.
  2. It’s not much of a “training program” if you expect to go to competitions on your own and just do your own thing. That’s not the way “programs” work.[/QUOTE]
  1. Originally I was told I would be only riding horses a couple days a week, but all of her training horses are gone except for 2. So she has brought my riding time down to 1 day a week. I can train 5 days per week, I just cannot spend my entire day at the barn because I have classes in the AM and the again after 4pm. (She was aware of this prior to interviewing for the position). I was not paid for the first month, it was her idea to begin paying me per hour for my riding time.
  2. I am more than happy to go with her, I just wasn’t sure if I should be treated like a client or an employee. It seems as if I am an employee.

[QUOTE=Muggle Mom;7608170]If you are no longer a junior and riding any of the trainer’s horses, then you should pay for all services (board, horse care, lessons, training) you receive from the trainer to retain your amateur status. An “apprentice” in this sense means volunteer labor in exchange for work experience in a trainer’s program. Of course, you should never be charged for services not delivered.

If you are only able to work one day per week, your value to the trainer as an apprentice is limited because there’s not enough continuity. These situations work best when you can commit to a daily situation for at least several months. If you can only “apprentice” once a week, I can see why the trainer would rather have you clean stalls and feed rather than assist in training horses/clients.

It doesn’t sound like this is worth your time and effort. You’d be better off working a part-time job to pay for lessons/training.[/QUOTE]

Help me understand, why would she rather have me clean stalls then help train? That doesn’t make sense to me since I was hired to only train horses.